06/20/2012 12:07 EDT

Cabinet Shuffle: Bev Oda To Lose Post In Summer Shake-Up If She Doesn't Retire First


In the end, a $16 orange juice will have proved too costly for International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda.

By summer’s end Oda will be out of Stephen Harper's cabinet, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.

There is some speculation the Conservative MP from Durham, Ont., will retire from politics before the embarrassing demotion. Oda will turn 68 on July 27.

Oda, however, told HuffPost on Wednesday she has "no plans" to retire.

Harper is planning a small cabinet shuffle with only five people or so affected, sources tell HuffPost.

Rookie MP Kellie Leitch, a surgeon from Simcoe—Grey in Ontario, is expected to get Oda's post.

Leitch is currently the parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour. As a woman from Ontario, she's expected to get the nod over other possible contenders, such as Calgary's Michelle Rempel and Ontario's Chris Alexander, a former top UN diplomat.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is also expected to switch jobs. Despite having the support of troops, MacKay is seen to have lost control of his department. Major procurement files have been bungled, notably the F-35, and the new secretariat for the fighter jet purchase is now under the control of Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose.

As the former leader of the Progressive Conservative party, MacKay still has to be treated nicely. It is expected he may switch jobs with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, a man regarded as competent, steady but not flashy.

Other speculation has Industry Minister Christian Paradis and Transport Minister Denis Lebel switching jobs as well.

Still, it is the $16 orange juice that will trigger the summer changes.

Oda survived earlier controversy about her frequent use of limousines and overcame charges she misled opposition MPs about whether or not she instructed staff to insert the word "not" in a 2009 departmental recommendation that essentially cut funding to the church-based aid group KAIROS.

During a trip to London last year to attend a conference, Oda rejected a five-star hotel already booked in favour of the $665-a-night Savoy. And because the hotel was no longer on site, Oda used a car and driver to shuttle her around at an average cost of $1,000 a day.

It was the $16 juice, however, that outraged the public — and core Conservative supporters — who saw it as a symbol of the minister’s champagne tastes and disconnect with everyday Canadians.

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